A new order for some advanced Basecamp features came in. I checked the weblog of the client to see where they are coming from and ran into a new term: neo-Taylorism. Taylorism apparently had very negative connotations. My only acquaintance with Taylor is with the sails manufacturer and the association is positive. I decided to go digging and in the process ran into the concepts of:
- scientific management
- human relations movement
- Toyota production system
Running a company is
a pain in the neck tremendously challenging.
If you are in the knowledge business, there are two major challenges:
- managing people
- managing process
You are spared the pain of managing inventory. In a sense, time becomes your inventory but it does at least take a third dimension out of the equation, in comparison to auto parts production where you really, really need to manage raw materials and parts.
What’s cool about business theory is that it’s all been invented before.
Scientific Management: neo-Taylorism
This Taylor is Frederick and he died in 1915, before Henry Ford’s factories were built. Frederick Taylor came up with something called Scientific Management. The basic idea was to improve workflow (hey I need some of that) and labour output (work faster!).
The basic idea is that best practice methods should be documented and taught: all workers should produce quality work. A good start. The problem remains that with equal pay, there is no disincentive for workers not to dog it or goldbrick. Taylor called this slow working “soldiering”. Many workers call it “getting through the day”. I’ve got a friend like this. Once someone approaches work like this, that person is nearly unemployable at Foliovision or anywhere else where enthusiasm, productivity and quality of work are valued.